Pinay topbills new film in Hong Kong, receives ‘Best Actress’ nomination


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Hong Kong cinema’s newest leading lady might still be a newbie in the movie industry, but the 34-year-old Filipina has received a ‘Best Actress’ nomination for her role in the film. Not bad for a newbie, right?
Pinay topbills new film in Hong Kong, receives ‘Best Actress’ nomination

Like many of those who tried their luck abroad, Hong Kong-based Filipino actress Crisel Consunji did not immediately achieve her dreams.

She started out as a performer at Hong Kong Disneyland before becoming a teacher at Baumhaus, a preschool she co-founded. With her background in theater, she tried her luck in the movie scene when she saw a casting call on Facebook for Chan Oliver Siu-kuen’s “Still Human”.

Pinay topbills new film in Hong Kong, receives ‘Best Actress’ nomination
Photo credit: Inquirer

“When I saw a casting call for the film on Facebook, I thought it wouldn’t hurt sending them an application. I was lucky Siu-kuen and I hit it off. She’s an intellectual, and she was looking for somebody who could help mold the direction of my character and her story,” Consunji revealed.

But the first-time actress didn’t have it easy. She faced a lot of challenges, especially in the first scenes as she was inexperienced yet the role that she was given was big as she co-starred with award-winning veteran actor Anthony Wong.

“In my first few scenes, I felt like a failure because (director) Siu-kuen kept saying that my performance was ‘too big, too big, too big.’ But she was so patient with me that she would take me aside during dinner breaks and work on my scenes with me—until I got the hang of it. Then, everything came together,” Consunji shared.

It also helped that she portrays a Filipina nurse who left the Philippines to work as domestic helper after breaking up with her husband.

“My character’s issues were right up my alley, because I used to do a lot of social work. I taught an acting workshop for helpers for a year and a half, so I knew a lot of their stories. I didn’t even have to do research because I understood where they were coming from,” the actress explained.

Pinay topbills new film in Hong Kong, receives ‘Best Actress’ nomination
Photo credit: Inquirer

A lot of people could relate with the film’s story about the Pinay nurse who became a domestic helper in Hong Kong. She forges and unlikely friendship with her paralyzed employer who didn’t have a lot of friends and was forced to live on his own most of the time, much like many of Hong Kong’s aging population.

“The prospect of working in Hong Kong petrifies her because she wouldn’t even be working as a nurse, but as a domestic helper. But when she gets there, she ends up serving a paralyzed man whose situation appears to be just as dire. He’s divorced, he’s poor, he’s alienated from his only sister, and he only has one friend, who visits him,” Consunji narrated.

For its touching, realistic story, “Still Human” the Netpac prize at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Even as a first-time actress, Consunji received nomination for “best actress award” from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society while Wong won the “best actor award”.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express


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